If you intend to use Twitter as a channel to handle customer service as you represent your brand, be prepared to do it well. To really capture the attention of your customers, you must surprise and delight. Here's an example of how Merrell, a brand of outdoor apparel handled a recent customer issue shared via Twitter.
Here's the back story: I literally spent months trying to find the perfect boots. I am picky what can I say. I probably tried on upwards of 50 pair of boots and to my dismay there was always something about any given pair I did not like, and I knew if I didn't love them I wouldn't wear them. Boots are not an inexpensive proposition, so I held out. So I'm having coffee with a good friend one day, and we decide to leave Starbucks and go for a walk along the lake. As we are walking I look down and notice her boots and immediately believe they are probably the most awesome boots I've ever seen. So of course I ask her about them. They are Merrells and she got them at the outlet mall.
Now I really want these boots, but I don't want to be a copy cat. So I wait an appropriate amount of time an then ask her if she minds if I go get the same exact boots. I'm one of those people who obsesses a bit, so I think I asked her 3 times. "Are you sure?" To my delight, she was sure. So one Saturday when I was out near the outlet mall (an hour from my home), I had a few minutes and I stopped in to try them on. They were perfect in every way - so I bought them in brown and black! This was just about 8 weeks ago.
I wear them all the time! And last night I noticed that one of the buttons had come off one of my brown boots. They look like they snap in place... I immediately started to worry because I know I threw away the receipt because there was no way I was returning them! So I took a few pictures and decided I'd just reach out to see what could be done. I assumed I'd have to drive an hour to the outlet mall to make an exchange. So this morning I looked for contact info for the Outlet extension of Merrell brand and to my dismay could not find one - so I had to contact Merrell directly. How did I want to do it? Live Chat on their website? Email? Facebook? I settled on Twitter via their handle @merrelloutside.
Here is how it unfolded just an hour ago:
To tell you that I am more than impressed with their customer service would be a gross understatement, so let's break it down:
1) I had low expectations going in - not because of the brand, but because I did not have my receipt.
2) They responded within less than 30 minutes on Twitter
3) They addressed me in a very personal way by name in their response. I felt cared for.
4) They solved my problem - no questions asked!
I am completely and totally impressed. I tweeted a global brand a few weeks back about a customer service question related to a software download, and it took them 2 days to respond. I've tweeted brands in the past and never received a response.
I guess the point is, take this as an example of how you can use Twitter, to expand your loyalty and reach. Every negative you turn into a positive in the public eye goes that much further in establishing your reputation. If you don't have the time or desire to monitor your incoming feeds then don't use the channel. Being in this line of work I always say, if you can't use a channel well, don't use it at all!
So thumbs up to Merrell! I will continue to be a loyal customer (as I have been) for many more years to come! Plus their shoes are awesome!